Post by Jennifer Leopoldt (Communication & Technology Co-Chair)
You arrive in a room full of strangers and are told to pair up, see if you have a connection, and quickly move on to meeting someone new. It’s not speed dating – it’s speed mentoring!
On Nov. 15, DePaul Women’s Network hosted an event for DePaul staff members to connect and get to know each other while discussing professional strengths and challenges. Women paired off and spent three minutes talking to each new connection before coming back to discuss and network. A page of conversation starters and a handout listing each participant’s name, title and three self-identified strengths helped guide the conversations.
DWN President Christine Gallagher Kearney and Member-at-Large Julie Nuter, who led the event, based the evening on a template from the University of Kentucky. The DePaul event paired women of all different levels at the university. “We want to look at what we can give to each other regardless of our titles,” Kearney said.
Even though meeting so many new people could seem intimidating, the speed mentoring group agreed that the experience was positive. Participants wrote their opinions and reactions to the event on sticky notes, which were added to posters around the room. Here’s what the women thought, in their own words.
“I loved coming to this event. It gave me the opportunity to branch out and gain a lot of valuable knowledge.” “Everyone was very friendly and open with each other.” “This was great and worth it. I look forward to other events!” “I had a great time and hope to gain a mentor as a result!”
“I can be a resource for others.” “I had more to share than I realized.” “I was surprised that talking with so many new people wasn’t awkward or intimidating.” “No matter how different our jobs may be, I had a connection with each person in some aspect.”
Another surprise was how quickly the time flew by. “I thought three minutes was a healthy amount of time, but it’s nothing!” said Shena Ramsay, assistant dean in the College of Communication, after the event.
“I will walk away with more confidence in my ability to meet new people and make positive connections quickly.” “Connections to people to help with my job and people I have a lot in common with and can socialize with as well!” “I’m walking away with a larger network. I’m also establishing potential partnerships with staff from other offices.” “I’ll walk away with a reminder of all the resources at DePaul University.”
Best of all, one participant wrote that she came out of the evening with a greater interest in the women’s network and DWN events. If you’re interested in DWN, please connect with us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, and feel free to leave a comment below!